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Grateful Dead Live at Athletic Center, Rutgers U on 1981-05-15

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Grateful Dead Live at Athletic Center, Rutgers U on 1981-05-15

Topics Live concert

Mississippi Half Step-> Franklin's Tower-> Minglewood Blues, Dire Wolf-> Cassidy, Candyman-> Little Red Rooster, Jack A Roe, El Paso, Ramble On Rose, Looks Like Rain-> Don't Ease Me In Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain-> Estimated Prophet-> Eyes Of The World-> Drums-> Not Fade Away-> Black Peter-> Sugar Magnolia, E: U.S. Blues

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Athletic Center, Rutgers U
Location New Brunswick, NJ

Source Audience Recording: Sennheiser 421
Lineage (FOB) Senn 421> Cm> Dat> CD
Taped by
Transferred by


(FOB) Senn 421> Cm> Dat> CD; via Charlie Miller; Seeded to etree by Willy


Reviewer: unclefukkintony - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 22, 2016
Subject: looks like rain motherf#@$kker
yeah.... i was at this show.... i actually got arrested earlier in the day at an incident near red bank high... managed to get out, hitchhiked up to rutgers with my buddy ( quags , keith moran ) inna fuckin convertible fiat i think ( my brain will play the occasional trick on me these days ) ..... however, i was once again amazed at the symbiotic relationship between said band and mother nature....during looks like rain , when the sky opened up, in that cool fuckin sky light, man, you just had to be there ... and then, right on time, as soon as the show ended, the nasty weather split also,.........and of course, us, being surfers, we went and fucking surfed some of the better waves i can remember in jersey...... its funny because the same storm that started during looks like rain, also brought great motherfuckin waves ( long branch )......... makes me think of spring lake
Reviewer: jackstraw251 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 12, 2015
Subject: Looks Like Rain
Yes I was at this show and if you weren't you wouldn't know except for word of mouth that while Bob started to play LLR is had just started to get really bad out. The center of the ceiling of the athletic center was clear made of plexiglass I guess and during the song as I remember during most but I think more towards the end Lightning and Thunder was to be seen by all. Every Time Bob sang the line, It was like a magic trick but just nature. Prior to the show it was clear and nice out. You could hear people all over the parking lot in the woods ya know! As we drove around the entire lot on the outer perimeter near the woods it was like a bacchanal going on. Anyway it was a great show and one that I will never hopefully forget.
Reviewer: JamsOnly - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 2, 2015
Subject: Another Good 81
Highlights: No standouts
Reviewer: wtp024 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 17, 2015
Subject: not fade away
first audience singing "not fade away" .. you can hear it slightly towards the end.
Reviewer: jamesnix - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 28, 2013
Subject: You do NOT GET IT!!!!!!
I am a huge JG fan (over 150 shows w/gd & w/JGB)but
Piscataway New Jersey Rutgers Athletic Center was so completely exceptional for many very important reasons..... John Lennon had been assassinated 180 days ago....Reagan's VP (GWBush) had tried to assassinate Ronnie 44 days after his inauguration, and now come the only voice left of America's counter-culture - rocking across the early springtime campuses of the Northeastern USA, with their supposedly non-political bent - yet intact is their belief (however damaged by narcotics) that magic is truly the realm of the spirit - and on that May Night in Piscataway, the only concert hall they have ever played with a SKY-LIGHT WINDOW THINGEE - the lightning flashes completely coincide with Jery and Bob and Billy's jamming on LOOKS LIKE RAIN - listen up people - ever wonder why evryone is screaming during Looks Like Rain - nobody took their clothes off - The SKY JUST STARTED LIGHTING UP!!!! right along with the song ....

paaaleeeeeezee wake up to the magic evbdy now! :-)
Reviewer: ColoradoEd - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 17, 2009
Subject: Dead @ the RAC
I was a junior at Rutgers when this was announced in the Targum. It was a bountiful time to be on the East Coast. A nice end of summer run, RCMH, the March 81 run and then this. We did most of everything and as expected the grades suffered. What a hoot to have the boys on campus.

Saw the Jerry Band show at the Barn in 1980....that is a different story.
Reviewer: northstar dead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 24, 2007
Subject: We want Phil
I saw R.E.M. w/10,000 maniacs at the RAC in the late 80's. Believe Steve Windwood played there too.
Reviewer: WeWantPhil - - August 24, 2007
Rutgers Universtiy is divided up into several colleges and campuses in NJ ranging from Camden in south Jersey (near Philadelphia, PA) up to Newark. Rutgers college is in New Brunswick. However, this show took place at the RAC on the Livingston College campus. It is over the Raritan River from New Brunswick in Piscataway, NJ. I used to "run steps" training for crew in "The Rack" back in the late '80's.

I don't know of any other concerts ever held at the RAC.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Violent Femmes and a lot of other great bands played in the Gym on Livingston college back in the '80's. This is a different, much smaller, venue than the RAC.

The Jerry band played at the College Avenue Gymnasium ("The Barn") at Rutgers College in New Brunswick on 2/22/80. I saw Jimmy Cliff there in the late 80's. That's also where my college graduation ceremony was held.

Anyway, Piscataway, not New Brunswick.

Michael, Rutgers U., Class of '92.
Reviewer: Retired Dead Head - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 22, 2007
Subject: Majestic
You can hear the audience respond to the lightening during the first chorus of Fire On the Mountain!
Reviewer: JamminJerome - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 16, 2007
Subject: hey, this one's worth checking out!
nice AUD, and what a show! The next night is better, of course, but this is a good show! High energy all night!!!!! Hell, even the Rooster's good on this one - this might be the first Rooster I've ever liked.

4 stars because I always feel like an AUD takes something away from a show...4.5 star show.
Reviewer: L. Rosley - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 2, 2007
Subject: Tasty Rutgers show
The Dead hit some sweet spots in this pair of shows, 5-15-81 and 5-16-81. Both good quality audience recordings. This one (5-15) is the better of the two, a better performance and set list.

Jerry is in good voice and singing guitar throughout. As with all good shows, this one starts with decent first set. The band comes out swinging with a clean, energetic Mississippi Half Step. Franklin's tower has its moments, but like many from this era, is infused with repetitious vamps. Minglewood rocks, some nice Jerry soloing in Cassidy. Candyman is strong. Jerry as rock 'n roll guitarist is on fire in Red Rooster. Jack-a-Roe is full of energy, and even Even El Paso has some of the old energy of years gone by. Nice vocal effort from Jerry on Ramblin' Rose. Bob's vocal and Jerry's guitar rise to the climax together at the end of Looks like rain.

A fun, rockin' Don't Ease Me In acts as a warm up for a great jamming Scarlet. There isn't much of a transition into Fire, but Fire itself has a nice ensemble feel, and Jerry plays like he is placing every note. Estimated Profit builds in intensity to a revamped, bouncy Eyes of the World (better than versions of the previous year or so, with some of the original jazzy flavor).

Drums is cut from this recording, and Space isn't all that interesting. But the jam in the middle of Not Fade Away is hot, followed by a tasty Black Peter that is faster than many. More sweet, sweet Jerry jammin' on Sugar Magnolia.

Rutgers, a year after I graduated. Alas. But we can download it here.
Reviewer: skibida - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 22, 2005
Subject: Greate show, stormy night!
I was at this show and had taped it myself, but this recording is better. There's a liitle too much audience noise, but if you notice there is some odd crowd cheering during parts of 'Looks Like Rain'. This is because the AC's roof was skylighted and there was lots of lighting right on top of the boys during the song.
Although the band never reached the heights it had achieved in the early seventies, I think 1981 was one the peak post-1974 years, and this was a very high energy, crisply perfomed show, well worth the listen.
Reviewer: Creampuffin1965 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 4, 2005
Subject: Lucky to have been here!!!
I was still in High School and my older friend-Alen was a student here..He got the tixs ..I was so blown away by this show!!

Great to hear it again...Thank you!

"all good things in all good time"
Reviewer: Liamfinnegan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 3, 2005
Subject: I remember this one well
I was a junior at rutgers at the time, and I was part of the music committee that pulled off the show. We had a great beer drking, pot smoking time waiting out overnight for the tickets. We ran a very civl line of over 600 people, with hourly check backs for line position. No dicks were in the audience. I knew the vibe would be great. I recall taking a bunch of speed for the first set and had to dance it all out.

And yes, it eas so wild that a thunder and lightning storm was summoned by the Fire on the Mountain- You could see the lightning quite clrearly. I have not listened yet, but I am answering the question of where are the Rutgers heads. I am here
Reviewer: billydlions - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 19, 2005
Subject: Where are all the Rutgers heads?
Unfortunately I attended Rutgers 6 years too late because the whole show stands out and is way above average. There's just something about 1981 auds- I dont think I've heard a bad one yet. In fact, I dont think I've heard a bad '81 show, and this one rates very high on the list. After downloading hundreds of shows from the archive all I can say is thank you to the tapers who braved security to make these recordings. I cant even imagine where we would be without you. Wherever you guys are, your names are in the Grateful Dead history book forever!
Reviewer: jarlolaf5 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 23, 2005
Subject: Great show
Overall, a very well played and energetic show. The sound quality isn't wonderful, but it's definitely listenable. I really recommend it.
Reviewer: Albix714 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 27, 2005
Subject: A Nice Aud
I started collecting SBD's in the Mid 80's and have since grown partial to Aud's. There were no taper sections pre '83 or '84. These guys documented shows that they knew would never be heard again and all taping back then was "stealthing", not easy by any means. You just have to listen to the sound of that old gym and the crowd going nuts and The Boys responding. I used to complain about tapes like this, now it's pure gold!
Reviewer: nyc oldie - favorite - January 25, 2005
Subject: Fun Show/rainy night
I attended this show and it still stands out for a great time. We drove from Long Island and scored tickets in a traffic jam!

If you haven't been to this arena, is has(or used to have)a skylight on the roof. During the end of the first set, the lightning and thunder got real heavy. U can hear the crowd cheer during Looks Like Rain when the lightning flashes came thru the skylight @ 7:45. Also, during Fire everyone went nuts.

Very rowdy friday night crowd, most of whom just finished final exams. Most went on to Cornell next night
Reviewer: brendanmcauley - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 7, 2004
Subject: rockin audience quality show!
I don't review audience shows because I personally favor sbd's but this show is really fine.

A raging scarlet and a great second set entirely make this show truly a collectors item. There is nothing rare here but the show is also hot because the crowd is rowdy and the licks on jerrys guitar seem turned up loud.

Nice audience; I never download the aud tapes but trust me, this is very kind. Not A+ but then again, rating an aud tape is different criteria just by the fact it is an aud and not sbd. There are inherent 'blemishes' in auds so this really is a nice one in my book.

Enjoy the magic ride during Scarlet>Fire!
In Collection
Grateful Dead
In Collection
Live Music Archive
Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 4/26/2004
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